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Archive for December 1st, 2009

Lab-Grown Pig Even Vegetarians Can Eat

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 1st, 2009 5:47 am by HL

Lab-Grown Pig Even Vegetarians Can Eat
Dutch scientists are doing their bit to address the food crisis, the climate crisis and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals by growing pork meat from muscle cells harvested from a live pig. Their hope is to turn the cells from one animal into the meat from a million without killing any. Right now, you wouldn’t go near the stuff. It’s a few soggy centimeters of meat grown in the nutrient-rich blood juices of animal fetuses. It all sounds pretty horrific, but the researchers behind the project firmly believe that if they can get the end result to look and taste like the meat products we’re used to (no soylent green, please), people will go for it. That’s a good thing for a world that is overfished, overgrazed and doubling in population. PETA is on board, as long as the meat in question “is no longer a piece of a dead animal.”  —PZS Times of London: [Mark] Post and his colleagues have so far managed to develop a soggy form of pork and are seeking to improve its texture. “What we have at the moment is rather like wasted muscle tissue,” Post said. “We need to find ways of improving it by training it and stretching it, but we will get there. This product will be good for the environment and will reduce animal suffering. If it feels and tastes like meat, people will buy it.” At present there is a question mark over the taste as laboratory rules prevent the scientists eating the fruits of their labour. Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Dutch scientists are doing their bit to address the food crisis, the climate crisis and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals by growing pork meat from muscle cells harvested from a live pig. Their hope is to turn the cells from one animal into the meat from a million without killing any.

Right now, you wouldn’t go near the stuff. It’s a few soggy centimeters of meat grown in the nutrient-rich blood juices of animal fetuses.

It all sounds pretty horrific, but the researchers behind the project firmly believe that if they can get the end result to look and taste like the meat products we’re used to (no soylent green, please), people will go for it.

That’s a good thing for a world that is overfished, overgrazed and doubling in population.

PETA is on board, as long as the meat in question “is no longer a piece of a dead animal.”? —PZS

Times of London:

[Mark] Post and his colleagues have so far managed to develop a soggy form of pork and are seeking to improve its texture. “What we have at the moment is rather like wasted muscle tissue,” Post said.

“We need to find ways of improving it by training it and stretching it, but we will get there. This product will be good for the environment and will reduce animal suffering. If it feels and tastes like meat, people will buy it.”

At present there is a question mark over the taste as laboratory rules prevent the scientists eating the fruits of their labour.

Read more

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Related Entries



William E. Jackson Jr.: D-Day for the U.S. in Afghanistan: Realism versus Idealism

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 1st, 2009 5:46 am by HL

William E. Jackson Jr.: D-Day for the U.S. in Afghanistan: Realism versus Idealism
What Obama seems to have discovered is that this is no longer the war that began eight years ago. That war was an act of…

CBO: Three-Quarters Of Stimulus Unspent
Only $100 billion of the $787 billion stimulus package passed nine months ago has actually been spent by the federal government so far, with another…

Daniel Goldstein: Governor Paterson’s New London
While considering a Nets arena in Brooklyn, Paterson ought to pay attention to the ugly eminent domain saga in New London. That so-called “economic development” is now acres of vacant lots.


Climategate exposed: Conservative media distort stolen emails in latest attack on global warming consensus

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 1st, 2009 5:45 am by HL

Climategate exposed: Conservative media distort stolen emails in latest attack on global warming consensus

Since the reported theft of emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, conservative media figures have aggressively claimed that those emails undermine the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activities are causing climate change. But these critics have largely rested their claims on outlandish distortions and misrepresentations of the contents of the stolen emails, greatly undermining their dubious smears.

CLAIM: Email reveals that Jones used “trick” to distort data and hide decline in temperatures

  • BECK: How about Phil Jones, head of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia? “I have just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years to hide the decline.” Yes, he’s talking about a trick that another scientist previously used in a peer-reviewed journal to apparently hide the decline in temperatures — incredible. [Fox News’ Glenn Beck, 11/23/09]
  • In a November 23 editorial, Investor’s Business Daily stated: “In one e-mail sent to Michael Mann, director of Penn State University’s Earth System Science Center, Raymond Bradley, a climatologist at the University of Massachusetts, and Malcolm Hughes, a professor of dendrochronology at the University of Arizona’s Laboratory for Tree-Ring Research, Jones speaks of the ‘trick’ of filling in gaps of data in order to hide evidence of temperature decline.”

REALITY: “Decline” refers to unreliable tree-ring data, not instrumental temperatures. In a November 26 article, The Morning Call of Allentown, Pennsylvania, reported that Penn State scientist Michael Mann — whose “trick” was referenced in Jones’ email — “said his trick, or ‘trick of the trade,’ for the Nature chart was to combine data from tree-ring measurements, which record world temperatures from 1,000 years ago until 1960, with actual temperature readings for 1961 through 1998” because “scientists have discovered that, for temperatures since 1960, tree rings have not been a reliable indicator.” Jones has also stated that it is “well known” that tree ring data “does not show a realistic trend of temperature after 1960,” and the CRU has said that “[t]he ‘decline’ in this set of tree-ring data should not be taken to mean that there is any problem with the instrumental temperature data.” In a November 20 post, RealClimate.org’s staff, which is comprised of several working climate scientists, including Mann, similarly stated:

As for the ‘decline’, it is well known that Keith Briffa’s maximum latewood tree ring density proxy diverges from the temperature records after 1960 (this is more commonly known as the “divergence problem”-see e.g. the recent discussion in this paper) and has been discussed in the literature since Briffa et al in Nature in 1998 (Nature, 391, 678-682). Those authors have always recommend not using the post 1960 part of their reconstruction, and so while ‘hiding’ is probably a poor choice of words (since it is ‘hidden’ in plain sight), not using the data in the plot is completely appropriate, as is further research to understand why this happens.

Several scientists have stated that the word “trick” is being misinterpreted. The (UK) Guardian reported in a November 20 article that Bob Ward, director of policy and communications at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, said of Jones’ email: “It does look incriminating on the surface, but there are lots of single sentences that taken out of context can appear incriminating. … You can’t tell what they are talking about. Scientists say ‘trick’ not just to mean deception. They mean it as a clever way of doing something — a short cut can be a trick.” RealClimate also explained that “the ‘trick’ is just to plot the instrumental records along with reconstruction so that the context of the recent warming is clear. Scientists often use the term ‘trick’ to refer to … ‘a good way to deal with a problem’, rather than something that is ‘secret’, and so there is nothing problematic in this at all.”

CLAIM: Trenberth’s “travesty” email exposes private doubts about whether global warming is occurring

  • BECK: But first, let’s start with the science that has been so settled for all these years. What are these guys saying behind closed doors about their so-called bullet-proof consensus? Well, Kevin Trenberth, he’s a climatologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He wrote, quote: “The fact is, we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it’s a travesty that we can’t.” Incorrect data? Inadequate systems? Yeah. Travesty, pretty good word for it. [Glenn Beck, 11/23/09]
  • In a November 24 Human Events post, James Delingpole asserted that the Trenberth email reveals a scientist “[c]oncealing private doubts about whether the world is really heating up.”
  • Citing the Trenberth email, Robert Tracinski wrote in a November 24 commentary at RealClearPolitics.com that “[t]hese e-mails show, among many other things, private admissions of doubt or scientific weakness in the global warming theory. In acknowledging that global temperatures have actually declined for the past decade, one scientist asks, ‘where the heck is global warming?… The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.'”

REALITY: Trenberth’s email referred to “inadequate” system of observing short-term variability, not long-term trend. In the October 12 email, Trenberth cited “my own article on where the heck is global warming” and wrote: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate” [emphasis added].

Trenberth published similar comments in the journal article he cited. Wired’s Threat Level blog reported that Trenberth “says bloggers are missing the point he’s making in the e-mail by not reading the article cited in it. That article — post that “[y]ou need to read his recent paper on quantifying the current changes in the Earth’s energy budget to realise why he is concerned about our inability currently to track small year-to-year variations in the radiative fluxes.” Indeed, the Trenberth article referred to what he called an “incomplete explanation” of short-term climate variations, and maintained that “global warming is unequivocally happening.”

CLAIM: Scientists conspired against academic journal because it published dissenting research

  • In a December 1 editorial, The Washington Times claimed that Mann “threatened journals that had the gall to publish academic research at odds with the global-warming theocracy. Upset that the journal Climate Research had published such a paper, Mr. Mann wrote: ‘I think we have to stop considering Climate Research as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal.'”
  • In a November 27 editorial, The Wall Street Journal wrote:

Mr. Mann noted in a March 2003 email, after the journal “Climate Research” published a paper not to Mr. Mann’s liking, that “This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the ‘peer-reviewed literature’. Obviously, they found a solution to that — take over a journal!”

Mr. Mann went on to suggest that the journal itself be blackballed: “Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board.” In other words, keep dissent out of the respected journals. When that fails, redefine what constitutes a respected journal to exclude any that publish inconvenient views.

REALITY: Mann’s email cited specific paper that Climate Research editors and publisher conceded should not have been published. In the March 11, 2003, email, Mann wrote that the paper by astrophysicists Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas “couldn’t have cleared a ‘legitimate’ peer review process anywhere. That leaves only one possibility — that the peer-review process at Climate Research has been hijacked by a few skeptics on the editorial board.” The New York Times reported on August 5, 2003, that the Soon-Baliunas paper “has been heavily criticized by many scientists, including several of the journal editors. The editors said last week that whether or not the conclusions were correct, that analysis was deeply flawed.” The Times further noted that the “publisher of the journal, Dr. Otto Kinne, and an editor who recently became editor in chief, Dr. Hans von Storch, both said that in retrospect the paper should not have been published as written” and that von Storch resigned, “saying he disagreed with the peer-review policies”:

Advocates for cuts in emissions and scientists who hold the prevailing view on warming said the hearing backfired. It proved more convincingly, they said, that the skeptical scientists were a fringe element that had to rely increasingly on industry money and peripheral scientific journals to promote their work.

The hearing featured Dr. Willie Soon, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and a co-author of a study, with Dr. Sallie Baliunas, also an astrophysicist at the center, that said the 20th-century warming trend was unremarkable compared with other climate shifts over the last 1,000 years.

But the Soon-Baliunas paper, published in the journal Climate Research this year, has been heavily criticized by many scientists, including several of the journal editors. The editors said last week that whether or not the conclusions were correct, the analysis was deeply flawed.

The publisher of the journal, Dr. Otto Kinne, and an editor who recently became editor in chief, Dr. Hans von Storch, both said that in retrospect the paper should not have been published as written. Dr. Kinne defended the journal and its process of peer review, but distanced himself from the paper.

“I have not stood behind the paper by Soon and Baliunas,” he wrote in an e-mail message. “Indeed: the reviewers failed to detect methodological flaws.”

Dr. von Storch, who was not involved in overseeing the paper, resigned last week, saying he disagreed with the peer-review policies.

The Senate hearing also focused new scrutiny on Dr. Soon and Dr. Baliunas’s and ties to advocacy groups. The scientists also receive income as senior scientists for the George C. Marshall Institute, a Washington group that has long fought limits on gas emissions. The study in Climate Research was in part underwritten by $53,000 from the American Petroleum Institute, the voice of the oil industry.

Mann: “I support the publication of ‘skeptical’ papers that meet the basic standards of scientific quality and merit.” In response to the controversy surrounding the emails, Mann said that his email “[w]as in response to a very specific incident regarding a paper by Soon and Baliunas published in the journal ‘Climate Research.’ ” Mann further stated: “I support the publication of ‘skeptical’ papers that meet the basic standards of scientific quality and merit. I myself have published scientific work that has been considered by some as representing a skeptical point of view on matters relating to climate change.”

CLAIM: Email reveals Mann tried to obscure Medieval Warm Period

  • Discussing the reportedly stolen emails on ABC News’ This Week, George Will claimed that in an email, Mann “said he wished he could delete, get rid of, the medieval warming period. That lasted 600 years.” [ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, 11/29/09]
  • In his November 24 Human Events article, Delingpole claimed that the “emails reveal a variety of dubious practices, quite contrary to what might reasonably be expected of a world-renowned climate research institution lavishly funded by the UK government.” One “practice” Delingpole cited included “[a]ttempting to disguise the inconvenient truth of the Medieval Warm Period (ie the period from about 900 to about 1200 when global mean temperatures were considerably warmer than they are now): ‘……Phil and I have recently submitted a paper using about a dozen NH records that fit this category, and many of which are available nearly 2K back — I think that trying to adopt a timeframe of 2K, rather than the usual 1K, addresses a good earlier point that Peck made w/ regard to the memo, that it would be nice to try to “contain” the putative “MWP”, even if we don’t yet have a hemispheric mean reconstruction available that far back….’ ”

REALITY: Mann said he wanted to identify when MWP began, not “delete, get rid of” it. Mann wrote in the June 4, 2003, email [emphasis added]:

Phil and I have recently submitted a paper using about a dozen NH records that fit this category, and many of which are available nearly 2K back — I think that trying to adopt a timeframe of 2K, rather than the usual 1K, addresses a good earlier point that Peck made w/ regard to the memo, that it would be nice to try to “contain” the putative “MWP”, even if we don’t yet have a hemispheric mean reconstruction available that far back.

Moreover, according to the November 26 Morning Call article, Mann explained that his email regarding MWP “reflected his desire to identify exactly when the Medieval Warm Period began.” From the article:

Mann also said his 2003 e-mail saying ”it would nice to ‘contain’ the putative ‘MWP”’ was not a call for scientists to deny the Earth warmed naturally 1,000 years ago. He said it reflected his desire to identify exactly when the Medieval Warm Period began.

CLAIM: Emails were obtained through legitimate means

  • On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh claimed that the emails “may be from a whistleblower inside the organization who is just unhappy with what’s going on,” adding that “the bottom line is, the whole global warming — manmade global warming movement is a fraud. It is a hoax. It’s made-up lies.” [Premiere Radio Networks’ The Rush Limbaugh Show, 11/23/09]
  • In his Wall Street Journal column, L. Gordon Crovitz claimed that the “emails, released by an apparent whistle-blower who used the name ‘FOI,’ were written by scientists at the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in England. Its scientists are high-profile campaigners for the theory of global warming.” [The Wall Street Journal, 11/30/09]

REALITY: CRU officials have stated that emails were obtained through “a criminal breach of our security systems.” In its initial response to the reported theft, officials at the University of East Anglia stated: “Recently thousands of files and emails illegally obtained from a research server at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have been posted on various sites on the web.” In a statement about the controversy, CRU vice chancellor of research Trevor Davies stated: “We are committed to furthering this debate despite being faced with difficult circumstances related to a criminal breach of our security systems and our concern to protect colleagues from the more extreme behaviour of some who have responded in irrational and unpleasant ways to the publication of personal information.” Davies further stated, “Although we were confident that our systems were appropriate, experience has shown that determined and skilled people, who are prepared to engage in criminal activity, can sometimes hack into apparently secure systems. Highly-protected government organisations around the world have also learned this to their cost.”

CLAIM: Emails undermine global warming consensus

  • In a November 24 editorial titled, “Hiding evidence of global cooling,” The Washington Times claimed that the reportedly stolen CRU emails show that “these revelations of fudged science should have a cooling effect on global-warming hysteria and the panicked policies that are being pushed forward to address the unproven theory.” Internet gossip Matt Drudge linked to the Times editorial on the Drudge Report using the headline: “Paper: Junk science exposed among climate-change believers.”
  • Using the headline, “Global Warming’s Waterloo?” the Fox Nation linked to a November 23 Gateway Pundit post asserting that “Senator James Inhofe [R-OK] will call for an investigation into” the emails.
  • On his Fox News show, Sean Hannity stated: “This climate change hoax, now we find out that this institute, in fact, was hiding from the people of Great Britain and the world that, in fact, climate change is a hoax, something I’ve been saying for a long time.” [Fox News’ Hannity, 11/24/09]
  • On his radio show, Limbaugh claimed that the “whole thing’s made up” and that “it looks like substantial fraud — a lot of evidence of substantial fraud in reporting the evidence on global warming.” [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 11/20/09]

REALITY: Distortions of illegally obtained documents from one group of scientists do not undermine overwhelming consensus. In a statement on the reported theft of the emails, Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, stated that “no individual or small group of scientists is in a position to exclude a peer-reviewed paper from an I.P.C.C. assessment.” From Pachauri’s statement:

In summary, no individual or small group of scientists is in a position to exclude a peer-reviewed paper from an I.P.C.C. assessment. Likewise, individuals and small groups have no ability to emphasize a result that is not consistent with a range of studies, investigations, and approaches. Every layer in the process (including large author teams, extensive review, independent monitoring of review compliance, and plenary approval by governments) plays a major role in keeping I.P.C.C. assessments comprehensive, unbiased, open to the identification of new literature, and policy relevant but not policy prescriptive.

The unfortunate incident that has taken place through illegal hacking of the private communications of individual scientists only highlights the importance of I.P.C.C. procedures and practices and the thoroughness by which the Panel carries out its assessment. This thoroughness and the duration of the process followed in every assessment ensure the elimination of any possibility of omissions or distortions, intentional or accidental.

NASA’s Gavin Schmidt: “There’s nothing in the e-mails that shows that global warming is a hoax.” Wired‘s Threat Level blog reported on November 20 that Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said: “There’s nothing in the e-mails that shows that global warming is a hoax. … There’s no funding by nefarious groups. There’s no politics in any of these things; nobody from the [United Nations] telling people what to do. There’s nothing hidden, no manipulation. It’s just scientists talking about science, and they’re talking relatively openly as people in private e-mails generally are freer with their thoughts than they would be in a public forum. The few quotes that are being pulled out [are out] of context. People are using language used in science and interpreting it in a completely different way.” Schmidt is a contributor to the Real Climate blog, which has stated that some of the stolen CRU emails “involve people” at Real Climate.

NYT: “Hacked material is unlikely to erode the overall argument.” The New York Times’ Andrew Revkin reported on November 20 that “[t]he evidence pointing to a growing human contribution to global warming is so widely accepted that the hacked material is unlikely to erode the overall argument. However, the documents will undoubtedly raise questions about the quality of research on some specific questions and the actions of some scientists.”

UCS: Our understanding of climate science is based “on the rigorous accumulation, testing and synthesis of knowledge.” Peter Frumhoff, the director of science and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists and an IPCC author stated, “We should keep in mind that our understanding of climate science is based not on private correspondence, but on the rigorous accumulation, testing and synthesis of knowledge often represented in the dry and factual prose of peer-reviewed literature. The scientific community is united in calling on U.S. policymakers to recognize that emissions of heat-trapping gases must be dramatically reduced if we are to avoid the worst consequences of human-induced climate change.”

Yale Project on Climate Change director: “[T]here’s no smoking gun in the e-mails from what I’ve seen.” Reuters stated that Anthony Leiserowitz, the director of the Yale Project on Climate Change said, “It shows that the process of science is not always pristine … But there’s no smoking gun in the e-mails from what I’ve seen.” The Reuters article further noted that “the researchers involved were only a handful out of thousands across the world that have contributed to a vast convergence of data that shows the world has warmed.” The article also quoted Piers Forster, an environment professor at the University of Leeds stating, “Whilst some of the e-mails show scientists to be all too human, nothing I have read makes me doubt the veracity of the peer review process or the general warming trend in the global temperature recorded.”


Huckabee Cites System’s ‘Failures’ In Response To Washington Police Killings

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 1st, 2009 5:44 am by HL

Huckabee Cites System’s ‘Failures’ In Response To Washington Police Killings
Mike Huckabee has responded to the killing of four police officers in Washington State by saying that if the suspect in the case — a man whose sentence Huckabee commuted in 2000 — is found responsible, “it will be the…

The Best Sex-Scandal Haikus
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The Tattlesnake – The Tiger Woods Rumor Theater Edition

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 1st, 2009 5:40 am by HL

The Tattlesnake – The Tiger Woods Rumor Theater Edition
“The Tiger’s Fuzzy Tale” A short one-act play featuring Tiger Woods and his wife Elin Woods. ELIN WOODS: “So you’re telling me you haven’t talked to that woman in six months!” TIGER WOODS: “Absolutely, babe, I broke it off completely.” EW: “You filthy liar! I checked your cell phone and there are three calls to her just today!” TW: “Ulp!” […]


Democrats Getting Cold Feet?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 1st, 2009 5:39 am by HL

Democrats Getting Cold Feet?
Swing State Project notes what Democrats must hope isn’t the beginning of a trend: the withdrawal of three House candidates in under a week. Although none of these candidates were crucial to Democratic success in 2010, their decisions not to run highlight the problems Democratic strategists face at a key time for candidate recruitment.

Friday is Still Trash Day
President Obama “entered the White House promising a new era of openness in government, but when it comes to bad news, his administration often uses one of the oldest tricks in the public relations playbook: putting it out when the fewest people are likely to notice,” the AP reports.

“As with past administrations, Friday looks like a popular day to ‘take out the trash,’ as presidential aides on the TV drama The West Wing matter-of-factly called it. Along with weekends, holidays and the dark of night, the final stretch of the work week, when many news consumers tune out, is a common time for the government to release news unlikely to benefit the president.”

Quote of the Day
“Why would I want to do that? It’s been a hell of a tour. I’ve loved it. I have no aspirations for further office.”

— Former Vice President Dick Cheney, in an interview with Politico, insisting he will not run for president in 2012.


Christian Cowards: Why Don’t Evangelical Leaders Condemn the Hate Spouted by Right-Wingers?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 1st, 2009 5:38 am by HL

Christian Cowards: Why Don’t Evangelical Leaders Condemn the Hate Spouted by Right-Wingers?
Since when does loving Jesus mean you have to hate our President? Prominent Christians should denounce the violently aggressive language right-wingers use to tear down Obama.

6 Tricks to Sex After a Divorce
Whether you’re looking for a new relationship or are simply looking to get laid, here’s what to expect the first time you have sex after a break-up.

Michael Moore: An Open Letter to President Obama on Afghanistan
You still have the opportunity to save thousands of lives and live up to your campaign promises. Don’t become the next war president, Mr. Obama.

Activists Protest Environmental Agency for Collaborating With Polluters
The protestors say that the Natural Resources Defense Council has aligned itself with corporate interests whose goals for reducing emissions are far too limited.


Gratitude, Again

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 1st, 2009 5:37 am by HL

Gratitude, Again
Jim Carroll’s column (or poem, or blessing) for Thanksgiving. It is too lovely to link to. Here are his words in full: THANKSGIVING IS THE preferred American holiday not just because it is free of commercial pressures, denominational exclusiveness, and…



ThanksgivingUnited StatesHolidaysChildren and YouthPeople and Society

The Real Meaning Of The ‘Freeze’
Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement “falls short” (in George Mitchell’s words) on so many dimensions, reasonable people will conclude that it is simply a piece of theater, meant to appease the Obama administration, and public opinion around the world, particularly in the…



Benjamin NetanyahuGeorge J. MitchellMiddle EastWest BankPresidency of Barack Obama


ThinkFast: November 30, 2009

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 1st, 2009 5:36 am by HL

ThinkFast: November 30, 2009
President Obama plans to lay out a time frame for drawing down the American involvement in the war in Afghanistan when he announces his decision this week to send more forces. A senior administration official said, “He wants to give a clear sense of both the time frame for action and how the war will eventually […]

Obama

President Obama plans to lay out a time frame for drawing down the American involvement in the war in Afghanistan when he announces his decision this week to send more forces. A senior administration official said, “He wants to give a clear sense of both the time frame for action and how the war will eventually wind down.”

In a speech today, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) will call on President Barack Obama to bring U.S. troops home from Afghanistan. “I can take pot shots at ACORN all day long, and I’m good at it,” Chaffetz told Politico. “But even though I am probably going against where the party is on this traditionally, I just think we need to stand up and support the notion that it is time to bring our soldiers home.”

Business leaders are pressing the Obama administration to enact tax cuts as a way of spurring job growth. The National Federation of Independent Business is pushing for a payroll tax holiday, and the Chamber of Commerce wants “reduction of the corporate capital-gains tax and a permanent elimination of the estate tax.”

Food stamp use has risen to a record high as one in eight Americans and one in four children now take advantage of the federal food assistance program. More than 36 million Americans in total are on food stamps, with an additional 20,000 joining the program every month.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said Sunday that it’s “less likely than more likely” that he’ll run for president in 2012. “Huckabee said he’s enjoying his current gig as a Fox News host” and wants to see what happens in the 2010 elections. Recent polls show he is the “most popular candidate among Iowa Republicans.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said Sunday that he will not vote for Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke’s renomination, citing his role in the economic crisis. “I absolutely will not vote for Bernanke,” the senator said on ABC’s “This Week” news show. “He is part of the problem.”

“Trying to prevent a run on its banks, and financial turmoil that some fear could spread globally,” the United Arab Emirates has pledged to “lend money to banks operating in Dubai.” “The Dubai crisis began last week, when the emirate said Dubai World would not be able to make on-time payments for some of its $59 billion in debt.”

Iran has refused to comply with an IAEA demand to end work on the once-secret nuclear enrichment facility at Qom and has “escalated the confrontation by declaring it would construct 10 more such plants.” Iran will also look into enriching “its existing stockpile of nuclear fuel for use in a medical reactor — rather than rely on Russia or another nation, as agreed to in an earlier tentative deal.”

As “the historic debate on health care reform opens on the Senate floor” today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is attempting to negotiate “a compromise on the public insurance option that can garner 60 votes and win over a public still leery of reform.” Asked when he thought the Senate health care debate would end, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), told Politico, “When there are 60 votes.”

And finally: In her new book, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin says she’s quoting Hall of Fame basketball coach John Wooden with this line: “I will tell you one of the things we remember on our land. We remember our grandfathers paid for it — with their lives.” But the phrase actually belongs to Cheyenne warrior John Wooden Legs, who adds in his essay: “My people and the Sioux defeated General Custer at the Little Big Horn.” Probably not what Palin was trying to convey.

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Just one person in Washington Post poll says Cheney best reflects conservative principles.
Two new polls report that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh are the most powerful conservatives in the country. According to a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair survey, 26 percent of Americans rate Limbaugh as the most influential conservative voice, followed by Fox News host Glenn Beck at 11 percent. In […]

Dick Cheney Two new polls report that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh are the most powerful conservatives in the country. According to a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair survey, 26 percent of Americans rate Limbaugh as the most influential conservative voice, followed by Fox News host Glenn Beck at 11 percent. In a Washington Post poll, a plurality of Republicans say Palin best reflects their “party’s core values,” and they would vote for her “if the presidential nomination battle were held today.” Two people who don’t fare as well in the Post poll are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney:

Just 1 percent pick George W. Bush as the best reflection of the party’s principles, and only a single person in the poll cites former vice president Richard B. Cheney. About seven in 10 say Bush bears at least “some” of the blame for the party’s problems.

The Post surveyed 804 “Republicans and Republican-leaning nonpartisans” for its sample. Palin is particularly popular amongst the “loyal followers of Limbaugh and Beck.” “Overall, 18 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents cited her as the person most representative of the party’s core values. … Among those who regularly listen to Limbaugh, however, Palin was cited by 48 percent, and among Beck’s viewers, it was 35 percent, far surpassing others.”


Huckabee’s pardons at issue after police killings

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 1st, 2009 5:35 am by HL

Huckabee’s pardons at issue after police killings
The shooting deaths Sunday of four police officers near Tacoma, Wash., and the ensuing manhunt for the suspect have renewed scrutiny of the pardon record of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who commuted the suspect’s prison term nine years ago, leading to his release.


Senate health bill wouldn’t increase insurance costs for most, CBO says
As the Senate opened debate Monday on a landmark plan to overhaul the nation’s health-care system, congressional budget analysts said the measure would leave premiums unchanged or slightly lower for the vast majority of Americans, contradicting assertions by the insurance industry that the average…

Salahi e-mails show couple asked Defense official about attending state dinner
E-mails turned over to the Secret Service show that Tareq and Michaele Salahi had sought a top Defense Department official’s help to gain access to last week’s White House state dinner.